Moules Marinières in 5 Minutes and 260 words
I’m lucky enough to live and work near the bay of Le Mont Saint Michel – France’s appellation contrôlée Mussel hotbed (pun intended). From early June we cook these tasty little bivalves all the time. It’s one of the simplest dishes in the world to cook – you can even do it on the beach. It’s also one of those recipes that’s quicker to make than to read – but here it is from my book Broke the Grape’s Joy…
‘Right, Valentin,’ I said, cutting him short. ‘I’ll go and get something from the market. You and Paul finish what you’re doing here, then get an onion, a clove of garlic and some parsley, and chop them up finely. I’ll be back in half an hour.’
Turk and I jumped in the car and sped off in the direction of Libourne.
Forty minutes later I returned to the château and burst through the door with a sack of Arcachon mussels in one hand, my keys in the other, and three baguettes wedged under my arm. Like a gaggle of hungry geese at feeding time, the youngsters, who had gathered in the kitchen, were clearly pleased to see me. I noted that Valentin had found and chopped the ingredients I’d asked him to prepare and that someone had opened a bottle of white wine.
‘I heard the car on the drive, Jeanne,’ Paul said, ‘I thought you’d fancy an aperitif.’
How thoughtful, I mused, taking a proffered glass. Valentin took the shellfish from me and started to clean them in the sink while Aimée cut the bread into thick slices. I poured an immoderate dash of olive oil into the biggest of my heavy saucepans and added the onions and garlic which, once softened, I doused with a big glass of the wine. In went the mussels, and five minutes later we were settled at the kitchen table helping ourselves to a steaming pan of moules marinières.
‘Voila,’ I said dipping a crust of bread into the garlicky liquor, ‘Fast food.’